Pharmaceutical company donates its Jobs Support Scheme payout

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When Michael Yap suffered a stroke in 2000, the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) helped him through his recovery with talks and exercise sessions with other stroke survivors.

He was also invited to SNSA events such as Christmas parties to help him forget about his sickness and feel less alone in his recovery. 

Now, 20 years later, the 81-year-old  continues to volunteer with his wife, 80, every Sunday at three different hospitals to speak to stroke patients as part of a befriending service, to share his experiences with them. 

SNSA is one of 11 charities that received $100,000 in donations from pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim Singapore last month.

The company donated $1.2 million of its Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payout from the government, which was given to employers and help enterprises retain their local employees during this period of economic uncertainty.

From their first payout in May, they donated $500,000 to charities that focused on helping communities who are adversely affected by Covid-19, such as The Migrant Workers’ Centre, SPCA, The Sayang Sayang Fund, The Invictus Fund, and The Singapore Red Cross.

The company then donated another $700,000 to seven other charities, including SNSA, Singapore Heart Foundation, Diabetes Singapore, S3 Stroke Support Station, Singapore Cancer Society, Rare Disorders Society (Singapore), and SPCA.

It took Mr Yap more than a year of recovery to be able to lift both his hands over his head again, citing the frustration of not being able to be active as the hardest part of his recovery.

He hopes the donation will help SNSA to continue to reach out to stroke patients and their caregivers.
Through SNSA programmes such as art and music therapy, stroke survivors can know they are not alone, said Mr Yap.

“There is a life after getting a stroke,” he added.

Supporting the community during the uncertain coronavirus pandemic time was their management team and employees’ desire, said Mr Gerrard McKenna, Boehringer Ingelheim’s country managing director of Southeast Asia and South Korea.

He said: “We are proud to donate the funds from the JSS to patients and animals who need it the most.”
Dr Ng Wai May, President of SNSA, said stroke survivors are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, and safe distancing measures have posed challenges and restrictions to their services.

She said: “SNSA has innovated to develop new ways to support stroke survivors and their families with group zoom sessions and webinars. 

“The generous donation from Boehringer Ingelheim Singapore will help SNSA to enhance these innovative programs, and to introduce other services such as tele-befriending, exercise videos and facilitated peer support sessions.”